in·​form in-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce inform (audio)
informed; informing; informs

transitive verb

: to communicate knowledge to
inform a prisoner of his rights
: to give character or essence to
the principles which inform modern teaching
: to be the characteristic quality of : animate
the compassion that informs her work
obsolete : to give material form to
obsolete : guide, direct
obsolete : to make known

intransitive verb

: to give information (as of another's wrongdoing) to an authority
informed on a member of his own gang
: to impart information or knowledge
Choose the Right Synonym for inform

inform, acquaint, apprise, notify mean to make one aware of something.

inform implies the imparting of knowledge especially of facts or occurrences.

informed us of the crisis

acquaint lays stress on introducing to or familiarizing with.

acquaint yourself with the keyboard

apprise implies communicating something of special interest or importance.

keep us apprised of the situation

notify implies sending notice of something requiring attention or demanding action.

notified the witness when to appear

Example Sentences

The book will entertain and inform you. The arresting officer failed to inform the suspect of his rights. He failed to inform the suspect that he had the right to remain silent. We haven't yet been informed of her decision. Frequent reports from the battlefield kept the general informed about how the attack was progressing. The book will both entertain and inform. His Catholic upbringing informs all his writing. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Our articles on supplements are informed by nutrition expertise, but the ultimate choice is a personal decision between you and your healthcare provider., 25 May 2023 The team was informed of the coaching change Thursday. Glenn Graham, Baltimore Sun, 25 May 2023 You'll be informed about the state of Arizona before your start your day. Lorenzino Estrada, The Arizona Republic, 24 May 2023 Richins was informed that her husband had created a living trust. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 24 May 2023 But there are steps patients can take to at least ensure they’re informed when providers or insurers are using it. Mohana Ravindranath, STAT, 23 May 2023 Investigators were informed that Lorraine had recently come forward with concerns about mistreatment from her son. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 17 May 2023 Oats apologized for his wording and Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne later said Oats’ comments were not informed by the details of the court hearing. Mike Rodak |, al, 17 May 2023 The deputies have also been informed that these calls are occurring along with some real estate groups in the area. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, 16 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inform.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French enformer, from Latin informare, from in- + forma form

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of inform was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near inform

Cite this Entry

“Inform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​form in-ˈfȯ(ə)rm How to pronounce inform (audio)
: to let a person know something : tell
: to give information so as to accuse or cause suspicion
inform against them to the police

More from Merriam-Webster on inform

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!